U.S. cautions those living in Yemen after drone strikes
Suspected al-Qaeda operatives believed killed in four drone strikes
The United States, fearing retaliation against Americans living abroad in Yemen, issued a warning after a series of drone strikes killed four suspected al-Qaeda operatives in the country. A heightened security alert in has been issued and all Americans have been urged to leave immediately.
The United States, fearing retaliation against Americans living abroad in Yemen, issued a warning after a series of drone strikes killed four suspected al-Qaeda operatives in the country.
It's not yet known if the strikes were related to the added security alert. U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to "do something."
The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group's Yemeni affiliate.
The State Department has urged Americans in Yemen to leave immediately. All non-emergency U.S. government personnel were also told to leave. Two U.S. military transport aircraft have since landed in Yemen to evacuate any remaining American citizens.
"In response to a request from the U.S. State Department, early this morning the U.S. Air Force transported personnel out of Sana'a, Yemen, as part of a reduction in emergency personnel," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.
"The U.S. Department of Defense continues to have personnel on the ground in Yemen to support the U.S. State Department and monitor the security situation," Little added.
The U.K. Foreign Office has likewise announced it has temporarily withdrawn all staff from the British embassy and would keep the facility shut until employees are able to return.
The United States has heightened its security stance. A worldwide travel alert has been issued and has closed a number of embassies and consulates over large areas of the Middle East and Africa this week.
The State Department said the substantial security steps reflect an "abundance of caution" over intelligence information that indicated final planning by al Qaeda in Yemen for possible terrorist attacks on Western targets to coincide with the end of Ramadan this week.
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